misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
Note to Dog:

I hear the people in the hall. Really. Including the maintenance guy doing fire door improvements. It is not necessary to bark and/or growl to alert me every time you hear a sound out there. Especially when that sound is a power drill, I can hear it perfectly fine.

Note to Cats:

I understand that you two do not always get along well. I appreciate the fact that you fight much less than you did when Rosalind first came to live here, and I try to just put up with the occasional spats that still happen. HOWEVER...

On the occasions when you do still get into it, and decided to chase each other around the apartment with murder in your eyes, I would really appreciate it if the designated "home free" spot where the chasee can escape the chaser (whoever happens to be in either role at the moment) was NOT MY DESK.

Particularly not while I am working at it. And particularly not when you take a flying leap at the corner where my mouse pad is, while my hand is on said mouse, and land half-on-half-off it, sending the mouse flying in one direction and the mouse pad in three other directions (being as it is composed of three parts, and desperately grabbing at my arm with your claws in order to try not to fall. Neither the mouse, mouse pad nor my arm benefit from that kind of treatment, thank you.
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
From the always-fabulous Clients from Hell:

"I hate blogs. Blogs are for angry people who are sitting at their computer with a glass of wine at midnight with nothing better to do. No companies use blogs anymore."

If I ever get around to starting a blog on my business site, I am strongly tempted to put that quote in the sidebar or something...

. . .

In other news: Kiska would apparently like to register a formal protest against the current heat wave. Her usual means of doing so is walking really, really slowly when out on walks, and periodically stopping and looking up at me with that unmistakable expression that says "We're going home now, right? Right?"

Me, I'm weathering it OK, due in large part to good cross-ventilation in my apartment, and a fan. But I have been somewhat low on energy... Hot weather always seems to leach it right out of me. Also, I am nearly out of sunscreen, and it's only May. This strikes me as wrong, somehow.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
It's been a while since I posted an Aidan cuteness report. So here are a few of the latest gems...
  1. When I picked him up today, I had Kiska with me, and when we got back to my building, I took her harness and leash off as I usually do. As she bounded up the stairs, Aidan exclaimed happily "Kiska's free!" and then, a moment later, he added with a giggle: "Kiska's naked!"

    Er... for a given value of naked, I suppose. Not sure why her harness constitutes clothing and her collar doesn't, but I was too busy laughing to try and figure out the logic.

  2. And speaking of Kiska, here's one from earlier in the fall that I don't think I got around to posting at the time. We (me and Aidan and Kiska) were at the park, and Aidan had picked up a chunk of wood that he solemnly informed me was a spaceship. I asked him where it was going to fly to. "To the stars!" he exclaimed happily.

    "Really?" I asked. "What's it going to find out there?"

    He thought for a minute, and then added, in a tone that suggested he was explaining to a slow learner, "Stars!"

    "Does anything live out there? Will it find anything out among the stars, or on other planets?"

    He pondered this for a while, with a look of great concentration, and then his face lit up with a huge smile, and he shouted out "Cars an' bikes an' amb'lances an' fire trucks an' KISKAS!!!!"

  3. Twice now, when I've been trying to get him dressed to go outside and he's been resisting - particularly having his boots put on -- I've tried to tell him that he needs them on before going outside or his feet will freeze, and in response he's wailed "But I WANT my feet to freeze!"

  4. I thought I'd posted this one, but I just looked back through my recent entries and didn't spot it, so maybe I just told a few people: a while back, my dad happened to call when Aidan was here, and when Aidan found out it was "Granddad" on the phone, he wanted to talk to him. So I held out the phone to Aidan as I usually do when he's going to talk to someone, since he can't always be relied on to hold it in the right position to be audible if he holds it himself. But after a moment, he took the phone and pushed my hand away, saying in exactly the same patient-but-annoyed tone that adults often tend to use with toddlers who are doing something annoying: "Muime* can let go of the phone now. Aidan is trying to answer Granddad!"

  5. One of the books he's been enjoying lately is Angela's Airplane, by Robert Munsch. On the first page, it tells how the title character went to an airport with her father, but "something terrible happened - Angela's father got lost." So tonight, when he climbed into my lap to have me read that book to him, as soon as I opened it and before I'd even started reading, he cried out gleefully "Somethin' terr'ble happens!" He sounded so happy about that...

  6. Last but not least, earlier this evening he unplugged the power adapter from my old laptop and pointed at the screen, moving it around slowly with a look of great concentration, as if tracing a pattern. When I asked what he was doing, he said "I'm spraying paint. With a saxophone."

    I know where the spraying paint part came from - I had to explain to him what an airbrush was, because one of the library books I currently have out for him shows someone using one. And he got to see a saxophone at Ellington's last week. But how the two merged into one, I am not sure. It made for a pretty interesting visual in my mind, though.

Anyway, I think that's enough for now...

. . .

* Pronounced "mwee-va", it's an Old Irish word for foster mother, and it's what we decided to have Aidan call me to get around the two-moms terminology issue. Anyone who regularly reads my LJ knows that, but I figured I'd explain it in case anyone was new.
misslynx: (Aidan & me w/ dandelion)
  1. Scene: sand pit at Humewood Park.

    Aidan is playing with a couple of little sticks he found, planting them in the sand like little posts, and then looks up at me and says "Light on fire!"

    A little worried that I may have a budding pyromaniac on my hands, I say "You want me to light the sticks on fire?"

    He nods, with a very serious expression, and I say "I'm sorry, honey, I don't have any fire with me right now. How about we just pretend they're on fire?"

    He seems fine with that, and turns his attention back to the sticks, murmuring "Light on fire" again, and then adding "Boom, boom!"

    All of a sudden I think I know what he's playing at. "Are you setting off fireworks?" I ask.

    He nods, again with that Very Serious expression he often gets when he's playing, and says, in a tone of hushed reverence, "Fireworks! Light on fire, boom, boom, fire go up, up inna sky, boom, boom, pop-pop-pop! I make fireworks!"

    Each time he carefully plants a stick in the sand, he slowly looks up toward the sky, as though tracking the progress of the resulting fireworks display with his eyes. It is so awesome watching his imagination develop!

  2. Recently, [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen told me that Aidan had learned to say "I love you," although thus far he seemed more inclined to say it to stuffed animals than people. But the first occurrence of it in one of his visits with me was not to a stuffed animal...

    He was playing with Kiska, sneaking up and giving her little pats and then grinning manically. And then all of a sudden he leaned over toward her in a sort of semi-hug (she was lying on the bed and he was standing on the floor next to it, so he couldn't get all that close) and said "Love! Love doggie! Love you!"

    I'm pretty sure the "you" in question was Kiska rather than me, but it was still incredibly sweet to see.

    Mind you, the second recipient of the L-word was the two-foot-tall stuffed penguin my dad got him a while back... He ran up to it kind of randomly, flung his arms around it and lifted off the ground, and said "Love!" And then put it back down and ran off to do something completely unrelated. I'm kind of surprised it wasn't the stuffed lynx from [livejournal.com profile] lynxspirit (part of a WWF lynx sponsorship she gifted me with a while back), as in practice he seems to be more attached to that than to any other stuffed animal, or all his other stuffed animals put together, really. But who knows what lurks in the minds of toddlers? I'm sure the lynx will have her turn, as will I, hopefully, someday.
misslynx: (Default)
Animal updates cut for scatological content, in hopes of not squicking out my flist.
  1. Kiska update )


  2. Rosalind update )


  3. Speaking of construction, I was delighted to see a cement mixer outside my building earlier today. Not as delighted as I would have been if it had been in the act of pouring cement right there, but still... It was obviously getting ready to pour cement somewhere, and I can only hope that it was doing the road surface a little east of me, as that would mean that soon it will do the road in front of my building and then this will all be over. Or at least, the part of it in front of me will be. As far as I can see, pouring the actual road is the last remaining thing that needs doing here, other than stuff like painting lines on it, replacing the signposts and things, etc., all of which will hopefully be a little quieter.

    I am also ridiculously pleased that at least one tree on my block survived the whole construction project. I suppose I could equally well be upset that the others didn't, but on the whole I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm not sure why they took down all but one of the trees, but it did look like the one they left was the biggest. Maybe there's some city by-law about not killing trees above a certain size or age, or maybe they just figured the smaller ones wouldn't be robust enough to survive and the bigger one would, I don't know. But I'm glad we have one left, and I really hope they replace the others.

    Also, I am very glad that the tree immediately outside my eastern windows is growing out of Filippo's patio rather than on the sidewalk, and thus not subject to any of this. I would be seriously upset if anything happened to that tree.


  4. Very happy to have finally started my Deliria game, though I had to do so with only half the players, as it turned out. One player was sick, and another (her spouse), had to stay home to take care of her. And the original opening scene I had in mind needed them. But I was able to come up with an alternate opening that focussed on the other two player characters, and kept the story on track such that I can still do the original scene I had in mind next time.

    Gaming really is an essential sanity-saving measure for me. There's something about the particular kind of collaborative creativity it involves that feeds something in me that nothing else does. I suppose it's the same part of the mind that, as a child, loves playing make-believe. Maybe some people lose that as they get older, but I don't seem to have, and I'm very happy for that. Writing fiction is probably the closest "respectable", grown-up activity to that, but it doesn't (usually, at least) involve the same kind of interaction with other people, which for me is part of what makes gaming especially enjoyable. It involves not just exercising my own creativity, but bouncing it off of other people's. In some ways that aspect of it reminds me a little bit of playing in a band, but again, slightly different.

    Well, whatever the reason for it, it really does feel like an integral part of my life -- more than just an enjoyable time-waster. When I don't have it, I really miss it, and when I come back to it after not doing it for a while, I have that satisfied feeling like an empty spot in my psyche just got properly filled and all is now right with the world, or at least my corner of it.


  5. And that seems like an appropriately upbeat note to end on, as I have to get to the gym and from thence to a Drupal Users Group meeting. Hope everyone else is doing similarly well.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Round 1: Dog vs. Mattress

There is a layer of eggshell foam over my mattress, which makes it a little softer than the somewhat ancient sofabed mattress would otherwise be. Normally this is under the bottom sheet, but when I am doing laundry, it is exposed because the bedding is off.

So tonight I came home from doing laundry and walked into the bedroom to see chunks of foam strewn from one end of the bed to the other, and several large gaping holes near the middle. And Kiska lying next to the carnage looking up all sweet and innocent as if to say "Oh, you're home! How was laundry?" (I tried to photograph the crime scene, but alas, the photos did not turn out. Damn cell phone camera. Someday I will get a real one...)

I had just a moment of wondering what the hell had happened to my bed, before I remembered the times I have seen her circle around several times and paw at her dog bed or my quilt or whatever else was under her in order to arrange it to her liking. And I guess the foam didn't stand up so well to dog pawing... *sigh*

. . .

Round 2: Cat vs. Skin

I haven't posted an update on Rosalind (a.k.a. New Cat) lately, mainly because there's not been anything very dramatic to report. She seems to be settling in nicely, and she and Claribell are, if not precisely getting along, at least fighting less, so I think they're getting used to each other. She is a lovely cat, very affectionate and considerably more kid-friendly than Claribell, who usually hides whenever Aidan comes over. Rosalind not only doesn't hide from him, she'll actually walk right up and headbutt him affectionately or rub against him.

However... She has one major quality that is not happy-making. Or 20, depending on how you look at it. Specifically, 20 razor-sharp implements of death attached to her four paws, and a very severe disinclination to having them clipped. In the whole time she has been here, I have managed to clip one claw, once. And that is not for lack of trying, it's just for lack of succeeding. That cat really puts up a fight if you come anywhere near her with nail clippers, and none of the tactics I have ever used on other recalcitrant cats have had any success with her.

Tonight I tried again, after she drew blood from me unintentionally (well, unintentionally as far as I could tell -- who knows what lurks in the minds of cats?) for about the tenth time. I actually tried the wrapping-her-in-a-towel technique this time, and not only did that not result in being able to clip even one claw -- I also ended up bleeding in about half a dozen places by the end of it. Most of this was not due to her clawing me on purpose (again, as far as I can tell) -- she appears to be a very nonviolent cat. But she gets very wiggly when you try to clip her claws, and flails about all over the place, in the process trying to get purchase on any surface she can in order to get away, and if you happen to be that surface, you suffer the consequences. She does not seem, in general, to have any comprehension of the sharpness of her claws or how much damage they can do to human skin when she flails her paws about or even when she affectionately extends them while being petted, or jumps off your lap, or any of a number of other common everyday things.

I really, really need to figure out some way to clip her claws, but I'm really not sure, short of drugging her or something, how that is ever going to be possible...

. . .

Bonus Round: Cat vs. Cat

Oh, and just in case you think Claribell is innocent due to her not having destroyed my foam mattress cover or injured me (today), she is most assuredly not. While she is attacking Rosalind less often these days, one circumstance that nearly always seems to inspire her to do so is when Rosalind is in the litter box. Now that is just uncalled for. And apart from probably being a violation of the feline equivalent of the Geneva Convention, if such a thing exists (and it really should), this behaviour is also, I think, directly responsible for the occasional piles of poo I have been finding under my bed.

Now, I should really not complain, because better under the bed than on the bed, and poo is a lot easier to clean up than pee, but still...! Claribell really needs to learn some kind of rules of honorable engagement. But since the odds of that are probably very slim, maybe getting a covered box for the bedroom would help some. It would at least limit the possible angles of attack to one.

. . .

I love my pets. I really do. But sometimes I need to work extra hard at reminding myself of that.
misslynx: (Is it can be hugs tiem now plees?)
Claribell

...is hiding under the bed, apparently traumatized. In her 7.5 years of life, she has lived with five other cats, and has seen all of the get sick and then leave for a final vet visit they did not come back from, with the exception of Wonton who died very suddenly, and Miko who got sick and spent a long time at the vet's, but then died at home. She probably think she's next.

I think I really need to get another cat. I would not normally want to be thinking this so soon after Amber's death, but Claribell has never been an only cat, and she's lost every other cat she's ever been with, and I'm worried about how the stress is going to affect her. She's already been going kind of stir-crazy over the past few months as Amber got sicker and didn't really interact with her at all any more, and now she's all alone. Well, except me and Kiska, but a human and a dog aren't quite the same when you're used to being with other cats.

So I figured maybe I should put the word out and if anyone (local) happens to know someone who has a cat that needs a home, preferably a youngish cat so I won't be going through all this again too soon, and one who gets along all right with other cats and with dogs, and is not used to going outdoors, maybe they could let me know. Otherwise I will probably see if either Boubah's or my vet has any cats available for adoption.

I hate the idea of "replacing" Amber, but Claribell really needs a friend.

Kiska

...does not seem too affected by all this, aside from having perhaps felt a little neglected over the past while due to me being sick and having to spend a lot of time looking after Amber. I will have to try and give her extra love over the next while, which suits me because dogs are very good at giving love, too, and I need animal cuddles right now.

And I

...am hungry, having eaten very little today due to stress and a bit of residual antibiotic-induced queasiness, but despite having a full fridge and cupboards, absolutely nothing that I have here to eat feels at all appealling right now. And even though I'm relatively solvent right now and could potentially go out to a restaurant, I can't think of anything available anywhere nearby that I want to eat either. Even chocolate doesn't sound good to me right now. I'm very hungry but have absolutely no idea what I want...

...except for Amber not to be dead.

ETA: sushi makes everything better.
misslynx: (Default)
Tonight, [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie and [livejournal.com profile] mr_pugh, with the assistance of my stepmother's car, helped me finally pick up the wooden shelves [livejournal.com profile] northbard and [livejournal.com profile] tormenta had been hanging onto for me since [livejournal.com profile] nocturnalia & [livejournal.com profile] valgarth's move, and also a brand new NORESUND BED FRAME (AT LAST!!!)

Moogie had picked it up at Ikea when she was there getting other stuff, because it was on clearance sale prior to being discontinued(!), and offered it to me as barter for web work, which was fine by me. How Ikea could even contemplate discontinuing that most lovely bed frame, I do not now. It has spirals.

Getting everything stowed in the car was an adventure, especially the bed frame. The box it came in was too big to fit even into my stepmother's rather large car (I find it highly ironic that she has an SUV and my father is a devoted Green Party member), so we ended up having to open the box and try to fit the pieces in one by one, which initially seemed like not such a good idea when (a) one of them was almost the exact same size as the box, and (b) the little bag containing all the fiddly bits of hardware burst, scattering them all over the street.

Did I mention this was in Chinatown, on a Saturday? Very, very busy street, packed with people and cars and stuff and a homeless guy very persistently trying to help us, presumably in exchange for money. We politely declined his help, several times over, so he settled for being a backseat driver, standing back and telling us everything we were doing wrong and how we could be doing it better. The annoying part was that he was generally right. Still, we eventually got it all in, and I discovered that Moogie has a sluagh-like ability to squeeze herself into impossibly small spaces. It was very impressive -- I am almost certain her bones had to rearrange themselves.

Once here, they set up the bed frame while I mostly got in the way and/or apologized. I did try to help at one point but promptly made everything worse, so I decided that perhaps I would be better off in the kitchen making snacks for everyone. Normally I do like to consider myself moderately competent at putting stuff together, but I have my limits, and it seems like about half of what I attempt to do putting-stuff-together-wise exceeds them. Thus the "moderately competent" part.

Anyway, they did an excellent job, despite Kiska giving them baleful looks that were somewhere between "Stuff is moving around -- this means you're going to move away and give me to the pound like my first family did, right? Right?! My life is woe." and "Oh dear, strange things are happening to the bed, and the last time that happened, it ended up too tall for me to jump up onto. My life is woe." Kiska is good at woe.

But since I am not using a box spring, the bed is in fact not terribly high, and Kiska is at this very moment curled up on it, having apparently adjusted herself to the change. I look forward to joining her in the near future.

The shelves are for the time being stacked under the bed (Newly available storage space! Yay!), until I get the places they are going to go clear, and stain them to match my other shelves. I'm pretty sure I have a litre of that water-based burgundy wood stain that adorns virtually every wooden thing in my apartment left...

Anyway, MANY thanks to Moogie and Mr. Pugh for all their help, to Northbard and Tormenta for keeping the shelves at their place until I could arrange transport, and to Nocturnalia and Valgarth for donating the shelves in the first place. You all rock, and thanks to you my new(-ish) place is inching its way toward perfection.

. . .

Now, onto the second promised item. For the most part I am pretty tired of online quizzes and stuff, but every now and then I come across one that's actually interesting. This one, found chez [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen definitely fit the bill. It was an intriguing concept, and the results I got (and her results also) were kind of scarily accurate.

But I'm still putting it behind a cut, for those of you who hate all quizzes equally )
misslynx: (needs must)
I can has 36 hour day plz?

Or just stop time for a week or so while I get caught up. That would do it too...

Maybe more like a month.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
  1. No babies yet. Just thought I'd get that out of the way first, as it's the question everyone asks as soon as they see or hear from me.

  2. Kiska and I finally got to meet the Newfoundland puppy we've seen at a house on our usual walking route. All I have to say is: WANT! That is the softest, sweetest, wonderfulest little* dog in the world. Except for Kiska, of course. I continue to hope that we will one day get a second dog, perhaps when we're in a house instead of an apartment. I want THAT dog, or at least one very much like her. But [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen thinks Newfoundlands drool too much. And yet, she's having babies, which are also known for drooling... No consistency, I tell you!

  3. And speaking of people in our neighbourhood... In fact, very close at hand. Possibly even better than meeting the Newfoundland puppy on our evening walk was what I heard from one of our downstairs neighbours who was coming in as we were going out: they are moving out on the 31st!

    Any of you that have visited here in the past 9 or 10 months know how great a thing that is. Anyone who has not -- well, picture loud music constantly pounding up through the floor from club-level sound equipment, often until the wee hours of the morning. Loud enough to rattle the windows, and make the couch feel like one of those vibra-massage-chairs. They're nice enough when you meet them in person (usually), and do tend to turn it down when asked (usually), but they are denser than dwarven combat bread and have no idea what constitutes a normal volume for music when you have neighbours. Or even a normal volume for TV, conversation, or door slamming closing. It's like living upstairs from the hip-hop version of the Loud Family from Saturday Night Live.

    And they are moving out. Let there be much rejoicing. I only regret that we will likely not have the chance to drive them crazy in turn with the sound of crying babies (in stereo, yet), or at least not for more than a week or so, depending on when the twins make their appearance. Then again, they'd probably just turn up the music to drown it out.

  4. Some of the subject lines in today's spam harvest seem to be spectacularly surreal. Behold:

    hairy eggplant
    ghastly toothache
    pathetic mastodon
    twisted chainsaw
    mysterious bicep
    placid avocado pit

    I think hairy eggplant may be my favourite. It sounds like it should be a euphemism for something.

  5. I forgot to write, a few weeks back, about my optical revelation. I finally had the long-awaited eye exam where I thought I would have to say goodbye to contact lenses for ever in favour of bifocals, given that I am now officially Middle Aged (and that they don't make bifocal contact lenses in toric, which is what I need due to my astigmatism). But instead, my eye doctor suggested something I'd never heard of: monovision.

    What's that? )
* Little at the moment, anyway. Being as she's a Newfoundland, she is certainly not going to stay little...
misslynx: (Small Manageable Goats)
OK, so back on New Year's Eve I reviewed my goats, er, goals from the previous year, along with progress of lack thereof on each one, and said I'd cull the herd and assemble this year's goats in part two. So that would be now. Some of these are carried over or adapted from last year, some are new.

So, behold the 33 goats of 2006! )
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Well. Once my nose had recovered, I went into the bedroom where Kiska had lain down (on our bed!) to have a sniff, and oh my. She did get skunked. So, lacking the traditional remedy of tomato juice, I hit the web looking for alternatives, to see if there was anything I might be able to use in the meantime (intending to get tomato juice tomorrow) and discovered three things:
  1. Tomato juice, apparently, does not actually work to deodorize skunk spray. Neither does vinegar, sometimes recommended as an alternative. All either of them apparently do is mask the smell (and, in the case of tomato juice, stain your pet pink).

  2. It is imperative to get the spray off the animal right away, before it has a chance to soak in, or they can retain the odour for up to two years.

  3. There is an alternative, created by an industrial chemist, that uses baking soda, peroxide and dish soap, all of which I did happen to have in stock.
Virtually every site I pulled up recommended that same recipe, and most linked to the creator's site, so I took the hint and mixed up a scaled-down batch of the formula, given that (a) I only had one half-full bottle of peroxide, and (b) only her left shoulder and neck got hit, so I didn't need to put it all over her.

Then came the fun part of coaxing her into the kitchen and sponging the formula into her fur. I went a little outside the skunked area for good measure, doing pretty much the front left quarter of her body. She was pretty patient with this, considering how much she hates to get wet, and only once in a while tried to wriggle away. I kept the solution on her for about 10 minutes, while sitting in the doorway between the living room and kitchen so that she couldn't get back into the living room or bedroom and get soapy skunky peroxide all over everything. This waiting period was made more exciting by her frequent attempts to wriggle past me into the living room, alternating with shaking herself and thus spraying the solution all over the kitchen.

Then came the even more fun part of wrestling her into the bathroom and trying to find a creative way to rinse her off given our total lack of a bathtub. I did not set much store in the idea of being able to give her a shower in our very small shower stall at the same time as (a) being in there with her to help rinse off the formula, (b) blocking the opening so she couldn't get out, and (c) not getting water all over the entire bathroom. I ended up opting for corralling her in the shower stall and pouring pitchers of water over her with the plastic pitcher I usually use for iced tea, while crouching in the opening of the shower stall to block her in (after stripping my clothes off as I really should have done before I started this whole process at all). She was, again, relatively patient through all this, although she did keep an eye open for possible escape routes, meaning that every time I filled the pitcher from the sink (which I had to do while crouching half under the sink, a dandy logistical challenge) I had to be watching her carefully with my peripheral vision.

But eventually the deed was done, she was rinsed and towelled off, and it actually seems to have worked pretty well. She is far, far more pleasant smelling now. Once she was settled in on our bed (on top of a thick folded dog blanket, this time), I mopped the bathroom floor, rinsed myself off, and then went straight to my little BPAL shelf and applied Black Forest to about six different body parts. Was tempted to also apply some to Kiska, but I think she's been through enough.

Hopefully, at least, she will now know to stay far, far away from anything with black and white stripes.

And I still have a sizeable chunk more work to get done tonight... :-(
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Skunks are so pretty. Why do they have to smell so bad?

I asked [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane this last night, while walking Kiska, as we watched one scurry across the street. I think I may have added something silly about wanting to pick them up and cuddle them and love them.

I do not feel like doing that, right at the moment.

When I took Kiska out just now, she bolted towards where some thoughtful person had left a bag of garbage next to the front porch and began barking furiously, and I heard something scamper away... Thought at first it was a raccoon. Then the smell hit.

I don't think Kiska took a direct hit from the spray, as I am able to put my nose right up to her fur and just smell wet dog, but the overpowering intensity of having a skunk let loose really close to you is enough to completely boggle your nose for some while afterward, I have found. I have a somewhat hypersensitive sense of smell at the best of times, and this was the olfactory equivalent of an albino having a floodlight beamed directly into their eyes. I was smelling skunk all the way down the block, and I am still smelling skunk now. I think it mostly just got the whole area around our porch and little if any directly on Kiska. But really, I'm not sure because my sense of smell is so shell-shocked right now that I don't trust it.

I was actually smelling skunk in through the window by my desk before I took Kiska out, so that probably should have been a cue to keep her on a short leash when we went out. But I'm so used to a little ambient skunkness in the air (our neighbourhood is skunk central, it seems) that I didn't think much of it. And I don't know if what I'm smelling now is from outside or inside or just permanently graven into my olifactory nerves so that I'll smell it forever.

Even if it turns out she did take a direct hit, I can't do much about it -- no tomato juice, no money to buy tomato juice at the moment, and for that matter, no bathtub. :-/ I guess it will just be a stinky night. I may have to resort to excessive application of BPAL just to make sure I can still smell something pleasant.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
OK, it's official: while it may be the overall consensus that dogs are kind of dumb, some breeds are smarter than others. And we had read in many places, while researching dogs and dog breeds prior to adopting one that American Eskimo Dogs are known for being pretty smart. In a not-entirely-doglike, sneaky and clever and mischievous sort of way, that puts one more in mind of fox or coyote. And we have been pretty sure for a while now that Kiska's other half, apart from the obvious Golden Retriever, is Eskie.

Anyone who's been reading regularly knows she's currently sporting an Elizabethan collar (a big plastic cone that fits around her head) and getting dosed with several meds, due to a corneal ulcer most likely caused by a cat scratch. And Kiska is not a fan of the collar. It bumps on things constantly, makes it hard for her to eat and drink, go up and down stairs or around corners, or sniff things when she's outside, as well as of course making it hard for her to scratch her healing eye injury, which is the whole point.

Well. Kiska has slept on our bed every night since she got hurt, being a bit clingier than usual. But last night, at a certain point she got down and padded off into the living room, and stayed there. Not so unusual in itself, she didn't usually sleep the whole night on our bed before this. But what do we wake up to this morning, but the sight of, right next the the bed, Kiska's Elizabethan collar, open and lying flat on the floor?

We run into the other room. Kiska's sitting in her dog bed, smiling up at us with that distinctly Eskie sort of smile, same one she had the first time she wriggled out of her regular collar when we were trying to take her onto public transit for the first time, bolted down Oakwood, and went straight home. And the time that we took her off leash for a while when visiting neighbours and hanging out in their backyard, only to have her get bored, quietly sneak out the backyard when we weren't looking (completely panicking us when we noticed her gone), and return home by herself. Each of those times, when we eventually found her at home, sitting in front of the door as if she'd been there for absolute ages and was wondering when we were going to catch up, she had this distinctive sort of "Hee hee hee - I win!" smile, which was exactly how she was smiling now.

She had obviously scratched or rubbed at her eye a certain amount since removing the collar, but it wasn't too bad. A little more red and swollen, but not much. So we just scolded her, put the collar back on (and considered fastening it with duct tape - it has a velcro closing right now to enable it to be easily taken on and off when needed, and we were taking it off before at mealtimes to let her eat more easily, and sometimes while giving her her meds since she'd figured out how to use it as a shield from that. But maybe we can't do that any more. Also having second thoughts about whether it's a good idea for us to spend too much time away at Pride activities this weekend.

But anyway, while removing something that's supposed to protect your injured eye while it heals, and scratching at it to make it worse, may be dumb, being able to do so (not to mention smart enough to sneak out of the room to do it - and mischievous enough to bring the collar back in afterwards, since she couldn't have opened it in the same place we found it without us hearing it) is really kind of impressive. If nothing else, it gives the expression Too Smart For Her Own Good a whole new level of meaning.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Kiska seems mostly to be healing up OK, though her eye is still kind of weepy and the nictitating membrane is still reddish and sore-looking. But it's not all swollen up any more, and while she still tries to paw at it a lot, she's not whining and whimpering as much as she was the first night.

Giving her her meds is not a fun time, though. While she's a very sweet and gentle dog, she is also the mistress of passive resistance - [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane has nicknamed her Gandhi as a result. When you try and put the atropine drops in her problem eye, or, especially, the antibiotic ointment, she won't fight back as such, but she will wiggle and writhe and put her head in every conceivable position except the one that would allow you to get the damn medication in. It's kind of like wrestling with a good-natured furry python.

And she has also been trying to figure out ways around the elizabethan collar (or e-collar as the vet called it). She will sometimes find ways to turn it around so that the seam where it closes is next to the bad eye and rub against that, and just now, while I was out of the apartment for half an hour or so doing errands, she apparently found a way to go one step further.

I was greeting her upon my return, when I noticed that her long and normally white eyelashes were now red - they'd had slight brownish stains before from the discharge, but not bright red. I turned the light on (we've been keeping the overhead lights off in the living room and bedroom because the atropine makes her eyes sensitive to light) to get a better look, and there were definite smudges of blood around the outer corner of her eye. I grabbed the phone and called the animal hospital - thankfully they're open until 8 most nights. While I was on hold waiting for them to put me through to a vet, I saw that there was also a big smudge of blood on her foreleg, right around the dewclaw. So she'd somehow managed to get her paw up to her eye in spite of the collar and scratched herself. Not good.

The vet said to check how tightly the collar was fastened. And surprise - nowhere near as tightly as I'd thought. I could fit half my and through it, which means Kiska could probably fit her paw through it. Bad Kiska. But clever, for waiting until I wasn't home to do it. Same as she only ever eats the cats' food when we're asleep or not here. She knows when she's doing things she shouldn't be. I asked if we needed to take her to the emergency clinic, but the vet said that unless the eye itself looked worse, it was probably safe to just give her an extra dose of the antibiotic ointment in the eye and wait for the follow-up appointment we already have scheduled for tomorrow. So, more wrestling. But I eventually got it into her eye, after cleaning off as much of the blood as I could with a couple of damp cotton pads. So hopefully that will hold her until tomorrow. And I readjusted the collar as tightly as I could.

*sigh* I really wish dogs had a better understanding of the connection between actions and consequences, so that I could just explain to her that while I know her eye hurts, and maybe itches from the healing process, pawing at it will not improve anything and could make things a lot worse. Then again, humans don't always grasp the connection between actions and consequences either, so why should I expect dogs to be smarter than we are?

I'm hoping she'll be further improved and less apt to do bad things when left alone by this weekend - I'd rather not miss Pride. But if it comes to a tradeoff between that and Kiska's health and safety, you know where I'll be.

On the bright side, we're now able to pay [livejournal.com profile] optimystik back a little over half the money we owe him for the vet bill, partly from a couple of people having made Paypal donations (thank you!) and partly from my getting a small deposit from a new client today. Still have a little way to go, though. If anyone else is feeling inclined to make donations, that address again is lynna@spidersilk.net.

And I just got some super-healthy weight loss food for Kiska, since the other bit of news we got about her health at the vet's was that she's gained a whopping 16 pounds since we got her in September 2003! That may not sound like much, but she only weighed 35 pounds then, so that's almost a 50% weight gain. Very not good. So she's going on a diet, and the cats' food is going somewhere higher than floor level so she won't be able to reach it any more. And once she's recovered from the corneal ulcer, she needs more exercise. Then again, so do I, so maybe those two things can go together.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
She's home now and seems comfortable. When we went to pick her up, her eye already looked a lot better. It's still inflamed and weepy, but it doesn't look all Resident Evil-like. It only looks a little worse than last night. She has a giganto Elizabethan collar on which is about twice the size of her head and I initially thought must have been made for a great dane, but having seen her trying to circumvent it and find ways to paw at her eye anyway, I now realize why it has to be so big, and really sturdy as well.

The collar has to stay on for a week, during which time we also have to put antibiotics in her food, give her atropine eyedrops twice a day, and apply fucithalmic ointment to her eye twice a day as well. We did the eyedrops and ointment for the first time tonight; the antibiotics in the food start tomorrow. Needless to say, she is very enthusiastic about all this - huge cumbersome plastic cone around her face, people messing with her infected eye and putting things in it, oh joy. But if it helps her get better, it's worth the struggle.

She seems to be in good spirits, if still a wee bit dopey from the anaesthetic. That can apparently last for a day or so. But she's eating and drinking well and seems to be enjoying the amount of attention being lavished on her (except for the parts that involve messing with her eye). And our apartment is going to be enjoying dim mood lighting for the next week as the atropine will make her eyes very light-sensitive so we have to keep indoor lighting dim, and avoid taking her out during the brighter parts of the day if we can.

We do think, though, that we may have figured what, or rather who, was responsible for the formation of the ulcer: a certain small, feisty, tabby-and-white Someone with a hair-trigger temper, who evidently needs her claws trimmed more frequently. Scream and struggle all you want while getting your claws clipped, little miss Claribell - you are way too quick to swipe at the other animals when they're in your way, and we're not going through all this again if we can help it. Of course, we can't know for certain that she's guilty, but as soon as I read that cat scratches are one of the more common causes of corneal ulcers, I found myself looking accusingly in her direction...

On the matter of vet fees - I tried to see if the vet would agree to a payment plan of some type, but that wasn't an option - they were entirely prepared to keep Kiska there until we came up with the rest of the money, which would have meant the costs increasing each day as we got billed for additional hospital time. So [livejournal.com profile] optimystik dipped into his rent money for next month to bail her out, which means we have to pay him back before the end of the month so that he can cover his rent.

Which brings me to the following: a few people asked, in comments to my earlier posts, about making donations via Paypal to help cover the fees. I hadn't really thought about that as it's not what most people would consider a huge amount ($457, plus about $40 for the follow-up appointment she has to have in three days, but we were able to cover the $200 deposit this morning with the help of one of my clients advancing us some money for future work). On our limited income, with [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane not able to work right now, it is kind of a big bite, but I'm hoping we can get it covered before Optimystik's rent is due, though it's possible that might make us a little late with ours. So I don't really want to ask for help when it's not absolutely necessary. Still, if anyone feels strongly motivated to help out anyway, my Paypal address is lynna@spidersilk.net. It would make life a little easier for us, and we would certainly appreciate it, but it's not crucial to our survival or anything. I should have some money coming in from clients in the next week or so.

Again, thanks to everyone who sent good thoughts and wishes Kiska's way today. Kiska would thank you all herself if she could type.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Just got off the phone with one of the vets. Kiska is out of surgery and recovering, and apparently what she has is a corneal ulcer. These can be caused by anything from a drop of dish soap or shampoo or some other irritating substance getting in the eye, to a cat scratch or other minor abrasion, but are usually made worse by the animal rubbing at them with her paws, as Kiska was certainly doing. The good news: it is not very deep and will probably heal up in a week or so, given regular doses of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds, and special eyedrops. And it won't cost much more than what we were originally estimated (which means I still need to scrounge an extra $175 or so from somewhere, but I can probably find a way to do that). I will be on my way to pick her up shortly with [livejournal.com profile] optimystik.

Thank you to everyone who sent energy and/or good wishes.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Last night we noticed Kiska's right eye seemed to be a bit irritated. The white of the eye looked kind of bloodshot, and there was a bit of discharge coming from it. Closer inspection showed what looked like a dark spot on her nictitating membrane (that little third-eyelid sort of thing in the inner corner of her eye), and we thought possibly there was a bit of bark or dirt or something caught under it. I did some searching online for material on dogs and eye problems to see if there was anything we could do about it ourselves, but nothing really presented itself, so we figured we'd just keep an eye on it and take her to the vet if it didn't clear up.

This morning (well, about noon really - we'd been up very late), I was awakened with a jolt of pure adrenaline by a semi-hysterical [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane who was already in tears. Kiska's eye had gotten much worse overnight, and now seemed to be blood red all over and swollen way up. It didn't even look like a normal eye at all any more. Ladyjane was sobbing and panicking and I went into that icy-calm mode that I tend to in crises and just jumped out of bed, grabbed the phone, and started throwing clothes on while calling the Annex Animal Hospital. The earliest appointment they had open was 2:00 but when I said it was an emergency they put me through to one of the vets who said she could fit us in before she went for lunch. I got us both clothed and Kiska harnessed and soon we were on our way.

It's weird the different ways we handle crises. I think part of the reason Ladyjane freaked out so badly is because the last veterinary emergency we had was Wonton, and that didn't end well. Kiska was still conscious and fairly lively, and perked right up at the prospect of going outside the way she always does, though she was pawing at her eye a lot, but Ladyjane was crying over her as if she was dying. I just went into this dead-calm, take-control mode the way I always tend to in situations like that, and then felt vaguely guilty for not being more upset. Maybe it's an ADD thing. There was a mention in that video I saw at the support group that adrenaline acts on the nervous system in much the way Ritalin does and tends to make ADD people go all calm and hyperfocussed.

Anyway: the vet was able to see us within a few minutes of us getting there. She confirmed that it was an infection of the nictitating membrane, and probably caused by a foreign body caught in the eye. But it was inflamed enough that she couldn't really examine it well with Kiska awake. So they have to anaesthetize her and do it basically as exploratory surgery, which they couldn't do until 2:00 because most of the staff were at lunch. All she could do before that was give her some pain medication and put an Elizabethan collar on her to keep her from scratching at it and making it worse. She also said that with any procedure involving anaesthesia, there was at least a slight risk of complications, and that we needed to be aware of that. She asked if Kiska had eaten in the last several hours, because an empty stomach was safest, and we said that as far as we knew she hadn't - she'd been eating last night when we went to bed, but she usually doesn't tend to eat much after we go to sleep (and in fact, when we got home, her food bowl was still mostly full, so she didn't eat much last night either).

So we agreed to the surgery, while wondering how the hell we'd pay for it (just the basics of anaesthetizing her, keeping her in the hospital for half a day, and medications were going to cost over $400, and possibly there will be more depending on how things go with the surgery), and the vet led Kiska away, as we went out to reception to start phoning people we knew with functional credit cards, starting with my parents, to get the $200 deposit dealt with. I should have money coming in from various clients soon, but we didn't have much cash on hand right then. My dad was still out of town and my mom wasn't sure she had any space on her credit card right now, but fortunately one of my clients who is also somewhat of a friend agreed to pay the deposit and apply it to future work, so I can work it off rather than paying it back directly.

But it was as the vet led Kiska away to the back that it all began to hit me, and the adrenaline-calm seemed to fade away. Kiska didn't want to go and kept trying to pull away from the vet and come with us instead, and I felt tears starting to come to my eyes. And the fears of complications from anaesthesia and everything else began to tear at the edges of my mind. But I forced myself to stay calm until we had the paperwork signed and the deposit taken care of. Then, as we left, I felt my control beginning to ebb again and let it go this time. The tears came, and I had a splitting headache and felt slightly nauseous, which is also fairly typical of my handling of crisis situations. I can be all calm and in control during, but I pay for it after.

Once we got home, I got a white candle, carved it with Kiska's name and some healing symbols, and did a brief healing spell for her, lighting the candle with one of the Bríghid candles [livejournal.com profile] sgeimh_solais had brought back for us from Kildare. The candle is now burning on my altar and I'm waiting for a call from the vet to let me know how things went with the surgery.

So please, anyone who feels thus inclined, try to send some positive thoughts and/or healing energy to Kiska.
misslynx: (Default)
Well... I almost hate to announce this, but after putting together that poll and gathering everyone's votes, we ended up naming her something that wasn't even on the list! The same name occurred to me and [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane separately, and when she tried it out on the doggie, she responded better than she had to anything else we'd tried thus far. So well that we both wondered if that had been her original name. So... Many thanks to everyone who voted and/or offered suggestions, but our dog's name is now...
Kiska

It's a Russian diminutive of Katherine, according to the name site Ladyjane found it on. I found the name wandering into my head earlier and had been wondering where I'd heard it and what it meant, so I was really surprised when I got home tonight and Ladyjane suggested that very name.

The joy of finding the perfect doggie name even lifted Ladyjane out of the stress/depression she'd been floundering in earlier in the evening, and has temporarily distracted me from my hard drive woes (the drive in question now resides with Accurate Data Recovery who will hopefully be able to get somewhere with it).

Speaking of which, my apologies to our Changeling group for cancelling tonight's session -- my meeting ran way longer than expected and Ladyjane was feeling like poo. But things are better now. And our doggie has a name!
misslynx: (With Kiska)
We went to the dog rescue adoption fair this morning, and although Snowflake, the American Eskimo dog we most wanted, was adopted by someone else just before we got there, [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane wanted to go in and have a look around anyway, and our attention was caught by a medium-sized off-white doggie who was in a pen towards the back of the room because she was afraid of all the big dogs. Her tag said she was a 3 year old golden retriever mix, but she was considerably smaller and lighter in colour than a golden retriever usually is, her tail curled a bit and her ears were half pricked up. A rescue volunteer said they thought she was part spitz as well. Then they asked if we would like to take her for a walk (which I suppose is like a doggie test drive).

By the time we got back, I could already see little hearts blossoming in Ladyjane's eyes. I was a bit ambivalent because the dog was very quiet and passive, but Ladyjane pointed out that this might just be that she was scared and a bit shellshocked from being transported here from a pound in northern Quebec and surround by loud noisy big dogs this morning. And she did seem awfully sweet... So I didn't raise any objections, and shortly thereafter we were the proud new owners of a dog.

It's funny -- after all the reading up on different breeds that we did, and weighing the pros and cons of each, we ended up with a mixed breed dog who isn't any of the breeds we were thinking of! So now she is asleep on our living room floor at Ladyjane's feet, being examined carefully by a curious Claribell. She's barely batted an eye at the cats, and they seem to be handling her presence fine too. She really is very quiet -- she hasn't barked once all day -- which will no doubt make our neighbours happy. She's three years old, spayed, up to date on all vaccinations, and formerly belonged to a family who had to give her up when they moved to an apartment that didn't allow dogs. The rescue organization, Take Me Home, took her and some other dogs from the Quebec pound so that they wouldn't be put to sleep. And now she is ours.

We haven't decided what to call her yet -- the name the shelter gave her is Maguy (pronounced Maggie), but we'll probably choose a new name for her. She doesn't really answer to this one, and hasn't had it very long. I think she should have a name that has to do with the moon -- don't ask me why, I just do. I wanted to call her Luna, but a friend mine has a daughter by that name so that could be awkward. We will post pics of her soon, but in the meantime, you can see her here.

So: we are now, officially, dog owners. And not poodle owners, some of you will be glad to hear.

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